Lenovo IdeaPad 120S (11″) review – a good business laptop for unpretentious users

We can say without a doubt that the Lenovo IdeaPad 120S model doesn’t include powerful hardware and high-quality components. However, we can say that it is aimed at users that will use the machine for the most common daily tasks which don’t cause huge load.

The model we used for our review is IdeaPad 120S and is characterized by a good 11.6″ display with an IPS panel, a low-end budget CPU which handles well our daily office work, a battery that guarantees above 5 hours of autonomous work and all of this combined in a plastic chassis with good built and appearance.

You can check prices and configurations here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

Contents


Retail package

The package offers an AC adapter, model ADLX65CLGE2A providing 20V voltage and 3.25A current. In the package, we also found the usual user manuals and the laptop itself.

Design and construction

Ideapad 120s features a refined chassis with simple, clean lines giving it a modern rendition of classic style. The body surface is smooth and nice to touch, comes in mineral gray, doesn’t attract fingerprints. The bottom of the laptop is a plastic panel held by ten metal screws and allow quick access to the hardware components. The body is made firm and stable. The IdeaPad 120S is at the same time light and compact, extremely comfortable to carry around and hold with one hand. Its weight is just 1.23 kg, while the thickness is 21.5 mm. The feel during usage is that despite its budget character, the notebook features good design and built.

The laptop has an 11.6″ display with an IPS panel that features 1366 x 768 (HD Ready) resolution and offers very good viewing angles. Additionally, the display can be opened at 180 degrees. As we mentioned above, the notebook is made of firm plastic, however, when it is opened and closed you can notice certain twisting. When closed, the upper lid adheres tightly and firmly to the body. The Lenovo logo is engraved on the display lid.

Unlike other models of this brand, the hinges are made tight and consistent. This doesn’t change even in mild shocks. When closed, the lid adheres tightly to the corpus. On the bottom lid, on the left and on the right, you can see the loudspeaker grills.

The keyboard is of the Island Style type. Overall, it is well constructed, the buttons are comfortable and nice to touch. In addition, the touchpad is huge and comfortable for work. The touchpad buttons have responsive and consistent key travel. What’s more, the notebook features an HD camera.

On the right, you will notice 1 x USB 3.0 port, micro SD card slot, audio jack, as well as a button that quickly restores the system from a backup. On the left, there are 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C port, 1 x USB 3.0 port, HDMI port, power adapter jack, as well as two light indicators to see when the laptop is turned on and for work with a plugged in power adapter.


Cooling system

The laptop features passive cooling design (fanless) which is realized through a copper cooling plate. The cooling system is well designed and manages to handle its task even during continuous load with synthetic tests.


Storage upgrades

The options here will come as no surprise – an M.2 SATA 2280 slot + a 2.5-inch SSD/HDD slot. However, our sample came with only one standard 2.5-inch SATA HDD, while the M.2 SATA 2280 slot was free for upgrade.

Slot Unit Upgrade price
2.5-inch HDD/SSD slot 500GB WDC WD5000LPCX-24VHATO Buy from Amazon.com
M.2 SATA 2280 slot 1 Free Buy from Amazon.com


Display quality

The Lenovo ideapad 120S (11”) display features a WXG panel with an IPS panel, model INNOLUX N116BCA-EA1. Its diagonal is 11.6-inch, while the resolution – 1366 х 768 pixels. The aspect ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 135 ppi, while the pixel pitch – 0.188 х 0.188 mm. In addition, the display can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from at least 64 cm.

Lenovo ideapad 120S (11”) has comfortable viewing angles. We offer you photos to evaluate the image quality.

 

We’ve recorded a peak brightness of 246 cd/m2 in the center of the screen and 234 cd/m2 as average across the surface with 10% maximum deviation. The correlated color temperature at maximum brightness is slightly warmer than the optimal – 6200 K which is not bad at all, while going along the grayscale we have recorded 6110K. You can see how these values change at 140 cd/m2 (55% brightness) in the image below.

The maximum color deviation dE2000 compared to the center of the screen should be no more than 4.0 if you are planning to do color-sensitive work.

The contrast ratio is good – 1340:1 before calibration and 1230:1 after calibration.

 


Color reproduction

 

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The display covers 59% of the sRGB color gamut.

 

 

 

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

 

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.

 


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 27 ms.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

The Lenovo ideapad 120S (11”) uses PWM only up to 70 cd/m2 at high frequencies making it comfortable for continuous work in this aspect.


Blue light emissions

Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.

Conclusion

The Lenovo ideapad 120S (11”) display features an IPS panel, comfortable viewing angles and good contrast. It has relatively modest color range and resolution.

Buy our display profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for Lenovo IdeaPad 120S (11″) configurations with 11.6″ INNOLUX N116BCA-EA1 (1366 х 768) WXGA IPS screen and the laptop can be found at Amazon: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at bg.laptopmedia@gmail.com.

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount

 

Sound

The Lenovo Ideapad 120S (11”) features high-quality stereo sound. The low, middle and high frequencies are clear with almost no sound distortions.


Specs sheet

The current specs sheet is for this particular model and configurations may differ depending on your region

Lenovo IdeaPad 120S (11") technical specifications table

Acer
Not available
Display
11.6”, HD (1366 x 768), TN
HDD/SSD
32GB eMMC
RAM
2GB DDR3L, 1600 MHz
Dimensions
288 x 201 x 20.9 mm (11.34" x 7.91" x 0.82")
Weight
1.27 kg (2.8 lbs)
Body material
Plastic / Polycarbonate
Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • HDMI 1.4b
  • VGA
  • Card reader microSD
  • Ethernet lan
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Audio jack combo audio / microphone jack
Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera 0.3MP, fixed focus
  • Microphone Dual array microphone
  • Speakers 2x 1W
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

Lenovo Ideapad 120S (11”) configurations


Software

We used the pre-installed Windows 10 for the writing of this review but if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS, we suggest downloading all of the latest drivers from Lenovo’s official support page.

Battery

The Lenovo Ideapad 120S (11”) comes with 2-cell battery with a capacity of 3735 mAh Li-ion. The work duration in autonomous mode is relatively good. We run all tests in Power Saver mode and screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2.

Web browsing

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

A good result – 380 minutes (6 hours and 20 minutes).

Video playback

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

During video playback the laptop battery showed relatively good results – 280 minutes (4 hours and 40 minutes).

Gaming

We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.

The laptop showed average results for gaming load, although this model is not made for this – 230 minutes (3 hours and 50 minutes).

CPU – Intel Celeron N3350

Intel Celeron N3350 is a four core, low-voltage processor, announced in Q1 2016. It is designed for motherboard integration and is Intel’s budget line of “Apollo Lake” chips. Its base frequency is 1.1 GHz. Like other Celerons, N3350 does not sport TurboBoost or HyperThreading functionality. Unlike most of its kind, however, it has a functionality very similar to TurboBoost, called Burst Frequency, which can simultaneously increase the clock speed of all four cores to 2.40GHz.

The Intel Celeron N3350 has been developed using a 14nm process, allowing for the integration of the Intel HD Graphics 500 (Apollo Lake) controller. It operates at a base frequency of 200 MHz and its maximum dynamic frequency goes up to 650MHz. The power consumption of the whole system on a chip is 6 watts, with a maximum operating temperature of 105 °C. Intel Celeron N3350 supports PCI Express 2.0 and up to 8GB of DDR3L-1600 memory.

You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/

Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-celeron-n3350/


GPU – Intel HD Graphics 505

Intel’s HD Graphics 505 is found in the low-end Apollo Lake chips and it’s based on the company’s Gen9 architecture, which is also found in Skylake and Kaby Lake processors. The GPU offers 18 EUs (Execution Units) clocked at up to 750 MHz, although the base frequency is 300 MHz. Since the GPU doesn’t rely on dedicated memory, it uses the available one installed on the system using a dual-channel 64-bit controller – DDR3L/LPDDR3-1866/LPDDR4-2400. Other notable features include the support for DirectX 12 API.

The low power consumption (6W TDP) of the whole SoC, for example, the Pentium N4200, makes it a good fit for low-end systems with thin and light design. The TDP can be altered and reduced to 4W, which will also affect performance.

You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/

Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this GPU: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/intel-hd-graphics-505-apollo-lake/


Temperatures

In order to check the efficiency of the passive cooling we run a standard stress test of the CPU, GPU and the memory to see how the cooling solution handles tough system load and evaluate its overall stability in the long run. We have to keep in mind, however, that the laptop will rarely work continuously in such a mode. During the entire test, the CPU kept its maximum working frequency of 2.4 GHz for both cores. During the entire test, the CPU temperature didn’t exceed 40 degrees Celsius and throttling didn’t occur.

We also measured the temperatures in different areas on the surface of the corpus. As you can see from the image below, there is nothing to worry about. The temperature range is distributed evenly along the entire surface of the interior, there are no zones with an abrupt temperature difference in the values. We can say that the cooling system does a very good job.

 


Verdict

In conclusion, we can say that IdeaPad 120S is a very good laptop model that combines in itself stylish construction and budget hardware which can handle your daily tasks. It is not made for people in need of a powerful CPU or GPU, super display and incredibly firm corpus but it’s rather aimed at users that don’t want or cannot spend huge sums on a mobile computer and at the same time want to have such. The laptop is a great combination of small size, low price and budget hardware.

The display with a matte IPS panel is an essential advantage with comfortable viewing angles and modest color range. The sRGB coverage is modest but let’s not forget that the laptop is not made for graphics designers. Moreover, thanks to our Office Work, Design and Gaming and Health-Guard modes, the display significantly improves its parameters. The laptop is very comfortable for carrying around thanks to its thin profile and low weight.

Lenovo Ideapad 120S (11”) configurations

Pros

  • Good build quality
  • Light and compact
  • No PWM above 70 cd/m2
  • Silent work
  • Good wireless range
  • Good viewing angles
  • 2.5″ slot + M.2 slot for internal storage


Cons

  • The display covers only 54% of sRGB/ITU-R BT.709
  • Low-end CPU
  • Small amount of RAM

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